Kelvin Garlett remembers when his dad used to tell him stories about the emu, passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.
Growing up in the Wheatbelt, the Noongar elder was taught how to hunt and collect eggs, tracking the animal backwards to find the nest.
“My father used to tell us ‘just take what you need and don’t take too many, because next year there’ll be no emus then’,” he said.
Mr Garlett’s retelling of the ‘weitj’ — emu — is one of the stories that has been brought to life in Australia’s first Indigenous digital skills training program.
Using Blender, Paint 3D and Minecraft, students at Governor Stirling Senior High School in Perth have constructed animated worlds from local elders’ stories.
With the click of a button in an app, visitors can scan a QR code and stories like the ‘weitj’ spring up in augmented reality.
“That’s something like a dream come true, to see something like that there in modern technology,” Mr Garlett said.
“We’ve known about [these stories] since we were kids, and to see it on a screen, the students have done really well — I’m proud of them and I’m proud of my ancestors and my stories.”
The program is the brainchild of Cabrogal woman Mikaela Jade, now living in Canberra, who first stepped into tech after years working as a park ranger.
After creating the first version of the application in Kakadu national park, Ms Jade moved into education technology and has since partnered with major companies to build the Indigital Schools platform.
Students used digital programs like Blendr, Paint 3D and even Minecraft to animate the stories.(ABC News: Jessica Warriner)